Don’t Feed The Bears… Seriously

Today I recalled an under-reported story out of Denver back in August of last year.

A 74 year old Denver woman regularly fed the brown bears that were drawn to her backyard from the adjacent forest. She sat out fish, yogurt and other “bear friendly” foods all while the City of Denver and the Wildlife, Fish and Game wardens made every attempt to stop the old woman from feeding the bears. The womans’ neighbors were incredibly upset with the idea of having huge bears roaming their backyards and searching their property for food as well. The woman received letters, injunctions and all manners of communications letting her know that the bears were dangerous and that she should cease feeding them immediately.

August 8th, 2009

The elderly woman was seen feeding hard-boiled eggs and yogurt to an injured bear cub when an adult bear came over to the cub to take it’s food. The old woman grabbed a broom from the porch and swatted the adult brown bear with it. “She didn’t have a chance in hell,” said Connie Barnes, her neighbor of 5 years who never went outside after dark without a spotlight, her husband and his BB gun.

Game officials had to put down two bears that day which had become so dependent over time on the old woman’s “kindness” and “generosity”.

The moral of the story

Well, beyond the natural affirmations of where we are on nature’s food chain, the story of the old woman who cared so much about bears to offer herself (and and eventually some of them) in sacrifice should not go unnoticed or unremarked. Sometimes we do something that we believe to be so very honorable and generous that we blindly forget about the worldly order of things (regulations, laws and such) as well as the natural order of things (bears can eat humans). Officials at the scene were quick to use the tragic event as a teachable moment to those that understate and undervalue the rules and regulations that we have put in place to guide our actions. While we may live in a world where cynics pluck at all laws and regulations as bad things that hold us back from our true and rightful nirvana… Many of our laws only exist to protect us from ourselves and to guard against tragic events.

A Litmus Test

Does the Law provide for the common good, protecting freedoms and liberties while guarding ourselves from danger?

A Socialist country only uses the former statement “Provide for the common good” to provide justification for its laws.

A Democratic country ensures that “individual rights and freedoms” are not trampled in the pursuit of that “common good”;

and a Marxist/Communist country ensures that those rights and liberties granted from the second statement have the appropriate caveats of “guarding us from danger”.

While many of my ultra-Conservative friends will argue that a Democratic country like the United States can be ran strictly by Constitutional core values, without the legislative and regulatory controls in place to “guard us from danger” there would be a great many more Americans eaten each day. The rub is in how many degrees we allow ourselves to be self governed.


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